Nontraditional Holiday? Why not?

For the ‘American’ part of our family, the big holiday is coming up quickly. You know, Thanksgiving. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato souffle, pumpkin pie, and all the rest of the good stuff. In the past we’ve celebrated with fellow expats (aka adopted family) gathered around our own table or their table – or even larger gatherings where we rented space at the international school to feast.

This year is different.

This year we did not buy a turkey. I did not make stuffing. I didn’t even make a pumpkin pie. In fact, we are not even going to be home for Thanksgiving. We are leaving and taking a much needed mini vacation.

How do I feel about this? Actually, relieved. I’m not stressed about putting food together . I’m not worried about how Jie Jie is going to act/react at the gathering. I’m excited. We haven’t vacationed as a family in quite a while – like two years. We’ve gone to the US and visited family, but we didn’t go anywhere to shut off completely as a family. We’ve had stay-cations  but we tend to work anyway. We need to go away with books and games. I can’t wait -(actually, by the time you read this we will already be gone).

Why be nontraditional when this is the time I should be teaching my children about “their home” culture?

1. The thought of being away from family is too much this year. This is what one of my friends told me as she related their plans for the Thanksgiving break. They were planning to not have a huge feast at their home as they have in years past, but instead go to a different city and help at an orphanage with a group of other expats. I thought this was a brilliant way to fight the holiday blues. Go and serve others. And with that they are teaching their kids empathy for others.

2. The thought of doing anymore work is going to kill me. This is me, I raise my hand waving my white flag. I’m tired and the thought of cooking and prepping makes me swoon. And we have an “I Am a Hero Game” that we will travel six hours for the day before, so we decided to add time away and explore a small island off the main island.

I totally agree that holidays are a great way to teach kids about your own home culture. It helps them relate and understand where they came from. I understand that and agree. I get the full blown celebrations with all the fun crafts, food, and pre-recorded football games. I have done this – except the football game. We are European football fans, not so much the American football. So, my kids are not going to get a turkey this year. Will they survive? YES.

We really went wild this year – we put up our tree before Thanksgiving! We usually do this the weekend following Thanksgiving, but I wanted to come back to a decorated apartment. 

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you all! If you are eating turkey and pumpkin pie I wish you well as I sit at the beach reading a book and watching the kids play in the ocean. I’m thankful for time with my family.

Your Turn: How do you celebrate holidays? Do you go all out with every tradition? Do you ever do a nontraditional type of holiday? Please share in the comments below.

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Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

A simple pink carnation…

Green plants with pink flowers dotting the arrangement….

Pink construction paper folded with a note scribbled by a child…

These thoughts fill my head when I think of Mother’s Day.

Having lived in Taiwan for a few years another thought has come to mind…Mother’s Day Ads.

Yes, ads selling cakes and cookies at the convenience stores, restaurants having special Mother’s Day meals, and other places offering whatever for a good price for your mother. It’s like Christmas for the Mom’s only club, which is great if you are a mom and if your family goes for that type of thing. 

I’m a mom, but my kids don’t get into the “buy mom all the great deals”. Do they love me? Yes. Do they appreciate me? I’m pretty sure most of the time. Does my husband not care and love me? He cares greatly and loves me way too much.

Why not go all out and get me the works? Because I don’t want all of that. I’d much rather spend time with them. In fact my favorite Mother’s Day was just a few years ago when they didn’t buy me a thing. Instead, my husband planned a day at the beach. He had a picnic packed and we left early before traffic. We were the only ones on the beach and it was perfect.

Waves splashing….

Sand in my toes…

Those are now my newest thoughts when someone mentions Mother’s Day to me now.

Your Turn: How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Any special one that you remember the most? Please share in the comments below.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all!